Demerara Sugar Shortbread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor bowl (metal blade), grind
   1 cup walnuts
   2 tablespoons of sugar

Add and cream well
   3/4 lb. unsalted butter (3 sticks)
   1 cup sugar

Add and process
   1 tablespoon of vanilla
   1/2 teaspoon of salt
   1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
   grated peel of 2 (Meyer) lemons

Add and process briefly
   2 1/2--3 cups all-purpose flour.
(Include just enough flour so that they hold their shape. Process just enough to mix in the flour.)

Place two sheets of parchment (or "Silpat" plastic cookie baking sheets) on baking racks. Place about
   1/2 cup Demerara sugar*
in a small bowl. With a miniature ice-cream scoop (or melon baller or spoon), scoop out a one-inch ball of dough. Flatten it in the bowl of sugar, on both sides. Place on the parchment. Repeat until all the dough is used (or the parchment is full, whichever comes first).

Place racks on two levels of the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Then interchange the the top and bottom racks, also reversing the sheets front to back, so that they bake evenly. Bake for an additional 5--10 minutes, until the cookies are partially, but not totally, brown.

Remove and allow to cool before eating. Store in an airtight container. Can be frozen.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

*Note: Demerara sugar originated from Guyana but now is grown in Mauritius. You can substitute any coarse light-brown cane sugar.

© 2003 Richard Waldinger